The Students for Fair Admissions’ lawsuit against UNC and its race-conscious admission policies entered the next phase of legal proceedings after a hearing last Thursday.
UNC is one of three defendants in a series of lawsuits from the SFFA, the others being Harvard University and University of Texas at Austin. Edward Blum, the president of SFFA, said in a recent report that he believes the lawsuit against UT-Austin will also be resolved soon.
SFFA characterizes itself as a nonprofit membership group of more than 20,000 students, parents and others who believe that race-conscious admission policies are unfair, unnecessary and unconstitutional.
Chancellor Carol Folt and Vice Chancellor Robert Blouin sent a formal email notice to the University community, announcing the new phase of the lawsuit and explaining how they expect the plaintiff to attack admission methods and mischaracterize the community values.
“Students, faculty and business leaders who hire hundreds of our graduates each year agree the strength of a Carolina education lies in the diversity of experiences among our student body,” the email said.
Julie Park, a professor at University of Maryland at College Park and an expert witness for Harvard in its defense against SFFA, said she thinks removing affirmative action admission practices would be detrimental to students and institutions across the country.
UNC set up a website defending its admissions practices and outlining the case.
“A private group threatens Carolina’s academic excellence, and challenges our ability to create a diverse community of talented students from varied backgrounds and different perspectives,” the website states.
UNC's defense includes evidence that asserts its admission practices are completely consistent with the letter and spirit of the law, especially with that of Fisher v. University of Texas, a 2013 Supreme Court case that upheld the use of race and ethnicity in university admissions as constitutional.